John French Sloan — The McSorley’s Bar Paintings

23 Oct

McSorley’s Bar (1912)

John French Sloan, a founding member of the so-called Ashcan School (a term he despised) was a contemporary and friend of another of my favorite painters, Robert Henri.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, Sloan was not a quick painter.  Henri once jokingly remarked that ”Sloan” is the past participle of “Slow.”

Sloan is best remembered for his urban genre painting.  A recurrent subject for Sloan was McSorley’s Bar (also known as McSorley’s Old Ale House) located at 15 East 7th Street in Manhattan.  McSorley’s, one of the oldest ale houses in the United States, is still in operation today.  If you’re interested in a visit check out the bar’s website:

Sloan did at least three paintings of McSorley’s, starting with the aptly titled McSorley’s Bar (above), followed by McSorley’s Back Room (1912) and McSorley’s Saturday Night (1928) (both below).   All three evoke Irish working class life during the first several decades of the 20th Century.  Note that McSorley’s Saturday Night was painted during Prohibition — and that there’s not an empty hand in the house.

McSorley’s Back Room (1912)

McSorley’s Saturday Night (1928)

7 Responses to “John French Sloan — The McSorley’s Bar Paintings”

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    • bobbalouie June 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Thank you! I’m glad you found this blog post helpful. Good luck to you, too!

  2. Chauncey August 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.
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    • bobbalouie September 2, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

      No idea re Yahoo News. Thanks for following the blog though.

  3. bobbalouie February 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Thank you for your comment, Sarah! I’m glad you like Sloan, he’s a favorite of mine (as is the entire Ashcan School). I love your blog and am now following it! I’ve got a blog post coming up on the landscapes of James McNeill Whistler. And I’m also planning one on Reginald Marsh. If you like Sloan’s urban genre painting you will probably also like Marsh. Take care! Bob

  4. bobbalouie February 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    And I forgot to say — if you like Sloan you will also probably like the genre paintings of William Glackens. I did a post on him a couple weeks back. B.


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